Calling it now; this’ll be the next Hollywood moneymaker after the comic book film phase – video game movie adaptations. The industry has been trying to coalesce for a long time now, think Super Mario, or Mortal Kombat – all shocking attempts that set us back a decade or two. But now developer Ubisoft has green lit an onslaught of pictures about their games, and first is their biggest franchise; Assassin’s Creed.
If you’ve never played the game before it’s ok, it does hold your hand, but only initially. We’re given an introduction into a fantastical version of today where technology exists that links people into the memories of their ancestors; the Animus.
Michael Fassbender plays Cal or he may as well be ‘The Chosen One’ in this reverse Matrix movie where plugging into the system actually unlocks genuine moments of the past, and experiencing it in live action; it feels real because it is. His descendant Aguilar is the only person who knows the location of the fabled ‘Apple of Eve’ said to be able to control the free will of human beings.
So, of course the only way for the evil corporation Abstergo to retrieve this macguffin (it’s not a spoiler don’t worry, its obvious from scene one Jeremy Irons Rikkin is a baddie) is to fake the execution of Cal when he is conveniently locked up in prison for murdering a ‘pimp?’ I think I heard that line right in the film. This essentially takes him off the grid where he is kept in a facility with a bunch of other men who have all been used and abused over time to visit their past and track the aforementioned apple.
Cal is guided by Sofia (Marion Cotillard) daughter of Rikkin whom is the dream-weaver running the Animus and is torn between the cabal of the Templars and the plight of the assassins who are facing their demise. She helps Cal to be transported back to the Spanish Inquisition in 1492 where he gets to kill a lot of people. Sofia wants to put an end to violence, whereas it seems everyone else just wants to wipe out the creed of the Assassins in some kind of conspiracy we never get too deep into.
I mentioned the film holds your hand, but only at the start. Most of the time it’s a cluster of scenes with lots of talking about things you won’t get if you don’t know history very well, or have played the game before. Then you’ll get a ridiculously impressive visual scene as we go from present to past, with some cool eagle eye shots that almost make the movie worth seeing, almost.
This movie just garners a pass mark, which is hard because I love the Fass. But the biggest bonus; it’s probably the best movie about a game that exists… so bodes well for a future for video game movies, which is happening regardless.